Wednesday, 7 November 2012
The car park is overflowing when we arrive with a full quarter-hour to spare. The more events we do, the later we get. Parking up the street, we quickly get ready. I still take my compass although I hardly need it. I would feel lopsided without it. This is a score event and I opt for the 40 minute running version (course D) while Pat is doing the walkers 65 minutes. There are lots of people here, looks like another bumper 150 plus turnout.
I find myself giving out maps to eager hands as 7pm edges nearer. Some last-minute instructions which no-one listens to and then we're off. We turn over our maps and search for some meaning. A group of lucrative controls (19, 17, 20) to the north catches my eye and I head off up the hill, trying to catch John but I can't. 19 comes first, then we enter an interesting narrow lanes section between 10, 17 and 1. Four controls done and 15 minutes taken, now what?
I trot down towards the freeway. Can I go under it, or will I have to go round? I'm keen to get 16, but no clear plan on how to get there. Then I see John again, clearly going round to the right, so I follow him. We reach control 4 together but can't see it. Then I read the control descriptions, better late than never, and it says 'seat underside'. I spot it, but why does it need to be underside? On down the track, past an enthusiastic game of baseball, to the valuable 16.
I glance at my watch, a new Aldi purchase for $7, cheaper than buying a new strap for my old watch. It shows ten minutes left. Time to go to 13? I don't think so. My calf has tightened up, forcing me to run on my heels. I'll head back the way I've come and collect 6, which I had very cleverly left for just such an eventuality. I stagger beyond the cycle velodrome, the bikes whooshing past. Not far now.
Finishing with a minute to spare, I hand in my control card. Why no electronic punching? Then we could have instant results. I think I've done OK, but there's no way of knowing. Pat comes in a little later, also pleased with her effort. We learn later - results appear on the website the following morning, now that's impressive - that we are both well into the top half on our courses. We are both getting fitter, which bodes well for when we can find some bush orienteering to get our technical teeth into.